ENTEBBE - The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni, flagged off secondary school sports teams that will represent Uganda at the 17th edition of the Federation of East African Secondary School Sports Associations (FEASSSA) Games Championship due in Rwanda this coming week.
As many as 766 students from 56 schools will represent Uganda in neighbouring Rwanda.
They will participate in more than a dozen sports disciplines - football, rugby 15s and 7s, netball, volleyball, handball, hockey, athletics, swimming, table tennis, lawn tennis, badminton and basketball.
The First Lady flagged off Team Uganda at State House Entebbe at a function attended by the State Minister for Sports, Charles Bakkabulindi, the executive chairman of Brookside Dairy Limited, Muhoho Kenyatta, officials from Uganda Secondary Schools Sports Association, National Council of Sports and the education ministry's Department of Physical Education and Sports.
Mrs. Museveni congratulated the students for emerging the best sportsmen and women at secondary school level and urged them to represent Uganda with confidence, selflessness, dedication and pride.
“I trust that, with our prayers, you will win and come back triumphant.” she said.
Minister Museveni received a cheque from Brookside Dairy chairman, Muhoho Kenyatta during the flag off ceremony
The First Lady noted that the level of Uganda’s sports performance has improved tremendously in the last ten years and that the East African nation is growing stronger by the day - for which she praised God.
She pointed out that most of the athletes representing Uganda at major international sports events, such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, All Africa Games and World Championships are fruits of programmes implemented by the Department of Physical Education and Sports’ in her ministry, in conjunction with the Uganda Secondary Schools Sports Association.
Mrs. Museveni commended the Schools Sports Associations for the commitment to develop sports talent because it is the foundation and nursery for sport talent identification and development.
She also thanked all people who were involved in preparing Team Uganda for the FEASSSA games.
Her ministry will continue to support the schools’ sports and physical education programmes, such as the Kids Athletics and Special Needs, Primary Ball Games, Secondary Schools, Tertiary Institutions and Universities Championships.
Government will also consider increasing the schools’ sports budget to match the growing activities and performance of the student athletes.
The First Lady received a jersey bearing her name from Kenyatta
Mrs. Museveni reiterated Government’s commitment to the development of sports and highlighted some achievements, including the construction of the National High-Altitude Training Centre, which is underway in Kapchorwa, supporting excelling athletes to access Government sponsorship in public universities, developing sport schools into centres of sports excellence and supporting national sports teams to participate in international competitions.
During the flag-off ceremony, a Fresh Dairy five-year sponsorship of the Uganda Secondary Schools Ball Games 1 worth sh3.8 billion was unveiled by Muhoho Kenyatta, the brother of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
Kenyatta also handed over competition uniforms for Team Uganda to the First Lady and said Brookside Dairy, through their Fresh Dairy flagship brand, is proud to be associated with Team Uganda to this year’s East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Championship.
He said it is part of Fresh Dairy’s corporate social responsibility and aims at building motivation among the players and to uplift their chances of becoming great champions in the years to come.
The president of Uganda Secondary School Sports Association, Patrick Okanya, appreciated the education ministry and other stakeholders’ support towards the FEASSSA Games.